Monday, 23 November 2015

Circuits - It's A Love / Hate Thing

Finally, at long last, I've managed to get off my backside and get back into some kind of shape and regain some fitness, I mean Luke is only 2 and a half, it hasn't taken me that long to get back into it...not!
It all started with a text about some circuit training classes starting up in oour local GAA hall by a friend of mine. I'd had the excuse before that they were on too early for me as it was right in the middle of bed time for Luke but not this time. Now the classes were starting an hour later so I had no excuse.
I bit the bullet, I replied and said yes I'll go, sure it was only 4 weeks and if I didn't like it then I didn't have to go back, 2 classes a week, an hour each time, surely I'd manage that?!

D'ya know what? I did manage it and I loved it! Like thoroughly enjoyed it but hated it at the same time. What a shock to my system after the first class, no word of lie, I couldn't walk properly for 3 days, jeez I've never felt pain like ass, legs, arms, abs, knees everything hurt. It was that pain that you love though, the pain that drives you on because you know it's only hurting because you pushed your body to work for you. I dread the class every Monday and Thursday but I love it just as much. As mank as this sounds, it's so satisfying to work up a good sweat, the kind were it's rolling down your face and right in between the boobs!

It's slow progress and it's taken me a full 4 weeks to finally get the hang of some of the techniques but I have and each week I can feel myself getting that teeny tiny bit fitter. The warm up doesn't almost kill me anymore, I can do a lunge without almost falling over, I can run better than I ever could and I'm still terrible but I was worse before!

We're on a week off now and for the next few nights I must really put in the effort at home to keep up my newly regained little bit of fitness before we start our next lot of classes. The best thing of all though is that we all have a laugh while almost killing ourselves, I don't feel embarrassed or self conscious. I feel comfortable and encouraged and even though the instructors shout, a lot, and sometimes during that hour I hate them, (no really, when I see a burpee coming my way I genuinely despise them) they are actually super. I leave there feeling good about myself because no matter how hard I may have found the class, they really do keep us going until the end with all of their encouragement...and shouting!

*Note: I cannot get the grasp of a burpee, my lack of coordination just will not let me, for now I will jump jack in it's place but I will master it...someday!*

*Also just in case you're wondering who the shouty instructor is, it's this guy*

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Lavender & Lemon Mini Loaf Cakes

I love lavender, anything to do with lavender, I have it or tried it. It's my favourite scent, my favourite aromatherapy oil and now one of my favourite things to eat.
I made these delicious mini lavender and lemon loaves for my besties birthday last week and they went down a treat with everyone.


4oz Soft cooking butter
4oz Self Raising flour
4oz Caster Sugar
2 eggs
2 Tblsp Milk
Sicilian Lemon Extract
Dried lavender - I was going to pick some fresh from the garden but my mum had some dried lavender already which she gave to me. She got it in a local health food shop.
Icing sugar - I never measure this, I just add some to water and mix and add more as necessary until I have got it to the texture I need
Violet food colouring


  • I began whizzing the sugar and flour together in the food mixture
  • Add the lavender to this. Some may opt to sift out the lavender after this but I didn't because I wanted it to be quite fragrant 
  • Add the milk, eggs and butter and mix well. As usual I left to whizz around in the food mixer while I prepared my tins. I used a 6 mini loaf tin but had enough mixture to fill 4. I greased my tins with some butter
  • I added Sicilian Lemon extract at this point, about a teaspoon and gave it another good mix
  • Add mixture to the tins and bake in the oven at approx 170 for 20mins or until cooked through
  • Once cooked and cooled, I topped them with icing and a few cake toppings I had in the cupboard.
These cakes turned out so much tastier than I had imagined, the sponge was light and the lavender was intense but subtle at the same time if that's possible! Next time I would a little more lemon or some lemon rind. These are just as nice without the icing too.
These tasty little bites reminded my of the Lemon Lavender scented yankee candle. Luke had a great time helping me with the icing and decorating, as I was putting on the decorations, he was eating them :)

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Happy Folding My Underwear

It's 10pm on a Tuesday night, I'm sitting on my bed surrounded by clean laundry that needs to be folded, it's been sitting in the basket since Saturday because we've been too caught up the Halloween celebrations and having fun before returning to our normal routine of work eat sleep repeat.
There's a handheld steamer in the middle of the floor because I've just figured out how to use it and it's quite exciting. 
The dog is panned out on the floor next to me and I have Spotify playing on the tablet for a bit of background noise. It's playing my "Rock" playlist as it's aptly named on my device. It's mostly filled with songs I would have listened to in my teen years or my carefree years when would what I would consider a small drama now was a huge one back then. Some of these songs take me back, right back to the very moment they are significant to me for, some back to when I was 15, some 19, others not too long ago at all. If I close my eyes, I can almost feel the moment all over again.
I love that about music, for me it keeps memories alive, one song can bring a smile to my face instantly just by remembering the situation, person or thing attached to it. 
Before I would listen to particular songs and sometimes pine for those particular moments again, I'd give anything to be in that moment again and sometimes that makes me think that maybe the here and now isn't where I thought I would be or should be. 
There's particular moments in life that I thought I would never leave behind and detach from, moments I thought would always be there, lingering in the back of my mind and if I thought they were slipping away I would put on one of these songs on the my play list and make sure it was still there even if the moment wasn't a particularly good one, it was still there, in the back of my mind.

Tonight though, a couple of songs came on, ones that would usually get to me, stop me in my tracks for a few minutes, like this and this, make me think, but tonight they didn't. For the first time in a long time, I felt a genuine wave of happiness, contentment and gratefulness wash over me. There was nothing major happening, but hearing these old songs I was smiling away to myself, thinking of whatever memory had popped into my head and I realised just how happy I was to be in the here and now. I am a natural worrier and over thinker, I generally panic about things that haven't even happened yet and I'm so easily stressed out by things I can't control right now.
Life is hectic, it's moving at such a fast pace all of the time and it's easy to get bogged down by what I haven't done in life but it's not so easy to remember all of the things I have done and achieved that I am proud of.
I've travelled to the otherside of the world on a whim, I've visited different countries and experienced different cultures, I've been down to my last penny and I've had more money than sense, I've fallen in love more than once, hard and fast and I've been delirious with it, I've hard my heart crushed but it's also been rebuilt and learned to love again, I've had various jobs, turned my hand to a few sectors and I've found one that's kept me content for the last 7 years, I've had girly holidays, far too many drunken nights to remember that involved tears, happy and sad, lots of terrible singing and questionable dancing, I've lost friends, gained friends, I've been on the highest high but also at my lowest point, I've been stuck in ruts but I've found my way out. 

So yeah, I maybe sitting on my bed surrounded by our undies that need to be folded, the dog may be shedding all of his bloody hairs over the carpet, the playlist on Spotify maybe making me want to reach for my hairbrush and jump around my room singing like I would have "back in the day" (it's on Oasis "Don't Look Back In Anger" so that's understandable!) but I can't because the little person that I co created is asleep in the next room and my partner in crime, the OH, who has been gone since 8am for college and then went straight to work, we'll get a quick chat in before we set our alarms to do it all again tomorrow, is due home any minute and he's not particularly a fan of my singing voice. 

So as I fold up our smalls, put them away in our draws, curse at the dog for leaving hairs everywhere and remember that I need to go downstairs and get our bags and lunches ready for the morning, I revel in my happiness, my contentment at my here and now, it may not be perfect, we may be working our backsides off towards a better future, it may be hard somedays, really bloody hard but I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Pasta with Low Fat Cheese Sauce

Now that I am back on the wagon of proper eating, meal planning etc I have discovered a lovely, Slimming world friendly cheese sauce that is delicious with pasta and vegetables.
I first saw the cheese sauce recipe here and fiddled with it a bit to make it to suit my tastes. You could use the cheese as HXA


Pasta of your choice
Vegetables of your choice - I used a medley of sweetcorn, peas, carrot and green beans
1 tub of Quark
4 -5 Tblsp Fat Free Fromage Frais
2 eggs
Garlic Italian Seasoning
Grated Parmesan
Low fat cheese, grated


  • Put vegetables and pasta on to cook
  • Mix the quark and fromage frais together in a large bowl
  • Beat in eggs and mix well
  • Add seasoning and grated parmesan
  • Once the vegetables and pasta are cooked, drain and mix together
  • Add the sauce to the pasta / veg mix and pour into an oven dish
  • Sprinkle your low fat grated cheese over the top and oven bake until cheese is nicely melted
I made enough to do for dinner that night and 3 lunches at work. 

Monday, 2 November 2015

Me & Mine October

I'm a little late in posting this months Me & Mine, we were well and truly caught up the Halloween activities this year (that and the fact we have had some internet issues!). We had 2 rounds of trick n treating which ended up with us having a very hyper 2 year old dressed as a red devil running around like a loon on Saturday night! It was our first year taking Luke out and while he wasn't too impressed with the whole knocking on doors aspect of things, he did enjoy eating his goodies on the go.

October saw me take a week off work while Luke was on his first ever mid term from play school. We had a wonderful week, nothing spectacular happened but I could see Luke was so happy to have us at home more and all to himself for the week. It makes it so much harder to go back to work but as usual we won't be long getting into a routine again. I got to spend some proper time with my Mum, we did lunch a couple of days and we were in her house most days. The OH and I managed to see each other more than just saying good morning and good night and I finally managed to get a few annoying jobs around the house out of the way too.

October also took me to Dublin with my 13 year old niece, Katie to see One Direction. it was her confirmation present and she had been waiting patiently since April for the day to arrive. We both headed off on the train and stayed in a hotel in the city centre. We also shopped until we dropped. This was her first concert and we were lucky enough to make it to the front row, we had a ball. I'm definitely a converted 1D fan after it, they put on a great show and gave her lots of wonderful memories.

I started circuit training classes this week too, all I can say legs! Oh god my legs were on fire for days after the first class, I mean I've never experienced anything like it but I love it. The classes are great, I love to break a sweat and really feel like I've exercised properly and with this I do. I'm filled with dread before each class but I'm buzzing by the time I leave. I am super unfit but this is a good way to get me someway back on track again.

So it was a pretty busy October all round and I'm looking forward to November being a quiet month before the Christmas celebrations kick off.

Here we are in October:

This month Luke loves:

  • Going to the tool shop with Grandad
  • Playing catch with the dog
  • Peppa Pig (I thought we'd escape her but no he loves her!)
This month Dad loves:
  • Having a week off college
  • Seeing Pan with his eldest
  • Luke's first trick n treating
This month Mum loves:
  • Autumn walks
  • Having full on conversations with Luke, he's such a chatterbox now
  • A night out for my besties birthday